Monday, January 28, 2013

Reviewing Spelling and Phonograms

I love to have my students play meaningful games to review spelling words and phonograms. 

To review phonograms, we:
  • write them in shaving cream on our desks (which also helps clean them since our district banned Clorox wipes)
  • write them on white boards
  • swat them on the big whiteboard.  I hang a bunch with magnets, and two kids race to find it and swat it.
  • play phonogram bingo
To review spelling words, we:
  • have a spelling list word search
  • read "the password" that is a binder ring of the spelling cards for the week.  They have to read one word before entering the room and while they wait in line after using the restroom in the hallway.  This also helps me work one on one with sounding (at least for a couple of seconds), and allows me to see gaps in their learning of phonograms.
  • have daily bellwork where we find and graph spelling words
  • have rainbow words where they write the word in pencil once, then in crayon/colored pencil two more times
  • Bingo
  • Races on the big white board
  • play "I have, who has".  I have a version of the kindergarten lists 1-20 in my TpT store.
  • Roll, Read, Keep (I have a version with all of our spelling words, Fry's first 300 words, number words to twenty, addition and subtraction facts through ten, doubles addition facts, and Fry's first 100 phrases).  Check out my store for this MEGA pack.

Here is a link to a little freebie to review phonograms, letters, or spelling words. One says "Phonogram BINGO" at the top, and the other just says "BINGO".  There are two sizes for the game boards as well, depending on how much your students can handle.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

 I just printed these on cardstock, laminated them, and the kids write the phonograms using their white board markers.  I used beans as markers, but my student teaching mentor teacher (I love her) used torn construction paper.  They kept those baggies in their desks.  Brilliant idea... see why I love her?

Do you have any fun ways to review phonograms or spelling words?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Character Education

I have been looking for a file on character education for a while now.  It seemed like there were parts of files that I liked, but parts that were missing.  I really wanted something the kids could interact with, and not just listen to a story about being nice or being trustworthy.  So, I took matters into my own hands, and made a unit with little readers.

I absolutely LOVE little readers (and my students do, too!).  I have little readers in each of my writing units.  All of those little readers (plus a few more) are combined to make the 30 Non-Fiction Science Readers pack.  The kids have a new book each week.  They draw the pictures to match the words, and we read them all week.  Have I mentioned how much I love them?  :)  I also made a pack of Social Studies easy readers because it's hard to find appropriate books (in length and complexity) for little learners.

Anyway, so I decided to make my character education unit with circle maps, bubble maps, anchor signs (with more than one option to make them... if you've read previous posts, you know I like options), and an easy reader.

Two different options for anchor chart signs: One that prints on colored paper, and one you can cut off the top and use the top and bottom in separate places.

A circle map and bubble map with different headings.

A paper saving, easy to copy little reader.

Click here to download a FREE preview with all you need to teach your students the caring character trait.
Freebie Fridays

Please check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store for the complete unit.

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's Chilly Outside!

Well, it was chilly last week in Phoenix.  I remember watching the news one day, and it was colder in Arizona than it was in Alaska.  You don't get to experience that very often.  The chilly weather made me think about arctic animals.

It seems like a lot of teachers (including myself) are studying arctic animals this month.  My students LOVE the sentence scrambles.  I think it not only helps them with reading and writing practice, but it helps with realizing all sentences begin with a capital letter and end with punctuation.  Plus, these are non-fiction, so we may as well add a little reading informational text and science into the picture.

I decided that I wanted to differentiate the sentences, so the word cards have color coded borders (green are high, purple are middle, and blue are beginning).  I also made two different checking sheets (one full page and one baggie size) so the kids could check their own work.  Hooray!

If you are interested in taking a peek at the full pack, please visit my

As a freebie, I am giving you a three sentence pack on polar bears. Click here for the file.
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Phonogram Frustration, Freebies, and a Sale!

I teach at a school that uses Spalding.  I love the Spalding program.  It is amazing to see kiddos come to class, not knowing any letter sounds.  All of a sudden, they are able to sound words.  SO cool!

Spalding is a great, but it makes it difficult when trying to find resources for phonics because we use 2, 3, and 4 letter phonograms.  I have made several of my products to include individual letters, as well as phonograms.

I think my favorite (and my students' favorite) is my build a word pack.  We pull these out often.  It's quick and easy practice for phoneme segmentation and reading.  I made this pack using Spalding phonograms and regular letters.  I wanted any teacher to be able to use the pack.  The word puzzles and build a word pack has picture flash cards (great for first sound fluency), picture cards with words, elkonin boxes and letter tiles, and cut apart word puzzles with pictures (bottom picture... great for phoneme segmentation and blending sounds).

Spalding is really into handwriting as well, so I made these free handwriting focus signs.


I also have a free game called "Oh, Snap".  The kids take turn flipping a card from the top of the pile until a "SNAP" card it turned over.  The first player to put their hand on the card gets to say the sounds of each phonogram.  It's a lot of fun.  Enjoy!

I hope you had a GREAT weekend!!
***The first three people to become a follower and leave a comment with an e-mail will be sent the Word Puzzles and Build a Word pack for FREE***
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., I am throwing a 20% off sale from 1/20-1/21. 
Click the links below to reach my stores.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

We talked about MLK on Friday.  Sometimes I forget the kiddos are so young, because I was surprised when only a few had heard of MLK.  We read a book about him, and then completed a freebie easy reader I got from Simply Kinder (click on the link to reach the post with the freebie).  I also have an easy reader in my social studies reader pack.  On the back page of the Simply Kinder book, there was a small writing prompt.  I love what my students came up with!

We talked about how one person can change the world.  The more I learn about MLK, the more I am in awe of his accomplishments.  What an amazing person!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Social Studies Easy Readers!

In my classroom, I have been using the "little books" with each of my writing units (which are usually non-fiction), and my students LOVE them!  We illustrate the books on Monday after we read a book on the topic.  I like them to illustrate the book because they can use their own pictures as clues to what is on the page.  We read them each day to gain fluency, and they take those books home on Friday.

Anyhow, I have been really busy working on new "little books" for social studies.  It is tough to find social studies books that are appropriate for little learners.  To my surprise, it's also tough to put a person's whole life in seven sentences. :)

Head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store or my Teacher's Notebook store to download the preview with a free easy reader on Abraham Lincoln.  Woot, woot!

The first three people to follow my blog and leave a comment will be e-mailed this file for free!  Woohoo!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hello there...

I am so excited to jump into the world of blogging.  To tell you the truth, I am a bit of a blog stalker.  I will be the first to admit that I don't have all of the answers.  I think that's what makes teaching such a unique profession.  Every year is different, because every student is different.  Every year, you will run into situations you haven't had to deal with before.  Therein lies the usefulness of teaching blogs and relationships with other teachers.  I have become such a better teacher through my colleagues, others' blog posts, and my insane addiction to Pinterest.

My hope for this blog is to help my fellow teachers by helping put useful resources at your fingertips.  If I am teaching a unit on something, by all means I will share what I have found.  There has to be a way to make our workload easier.  I hope to be that help to you.